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Posted on Mon, May 21, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Ann Arbor budget changes: Public art, police and fire staffing, fall leaf pickup, recycling and more

By Ryan J. Stanton

More police officers and firefighters? A restoration of fall leaf pickup and holiday tree pickup services? Cuts to public art? The end of recycling rewards in Ann Arbor?

Those are among the proposals on the table as the Ann Arbor City Council prepares to take final action on the 2012-13 city budget tonight.

Council members are planning to bring forward a flurry of amendments at the meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. inside city hall and is sure to last a while.

Here's a sneak preview of what's being proposed.

Six more firefighters

Jane Lumm and Margie Teall both propose increasing the number of full-time employees in the fire department from 82 to 88, which is Fire Chief Chuck Hubbard's magic number.


Council Member Margie Teall, D-4th Ward, wants to add six more firefighter positions to the budget.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Both council members anticipate the city will receive new grant funding to offset at least some of the estimated $477,594 cost of adding six more firefighters.

The City Council cut the number of FTEs in the fire department from 89 to 82 last year and tentatively planned to trim further to 77 this year.

With the city's revenue picture improving, City Administrator Steve Powers proposed a budget in April that would avoid layoffs and hold the line at 82 FTEs in fire.

But Teall and Lumm want to do better and get the department back up to 88, relying in part on additional state and federal fire protection grant money.

Teall's proposal calls for dipping into the general fund's cash reserves to pay whatever costs grant funding doesn't end up covering.

Lumm's proposal anticipates the city will be approved for a federal Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) grant to cover the cost of three additional firefighters.

She also believes it's realistic that state officials will approve an increase in state fire protection grant funding to cover at least one additional firefighter, and it's possible the increase from the state could be significantly higher and cover three more firefighters.

Lumm noted fire staffing levels have dropped from 126 to 82 FTEs since 2001. She said public safety services are essential and are highly valued by residents and businesses.

If state and federal revenues don't come through as planned, Lumm suggests the city could cut spending for a high-speed rail grant match related to Fuller Road Station.

Separate from Lumm and Teall, Council Member Stephen Kunselman, D-3rd Ward, is bringing forward a proposal to generate extra local funding for fire staffing.

Kunselman wants the Downtown Development Authority to follow an interpretation of city code that would call for the return of $659,771 in tax-increment financing dollars to local taxing jurisdictions in the next year, including $199,360 to the city's general fund.

He wants to use that money to hire at least two more firefighters beyond what the city administrator proposes in his budget.

5 to 10 more police officers

Lumm also wants to amend the city administrator’s budget to add more police officer positions — 10 more if grant funds come through and five more if they don't.

Police department staffing levels have fallen from 244 to 164 FTEs since 2001, Lumm points out. The current budget of 164 FTEs includes 118 sworn police officers and Lumm said the chief previously indicated his "magic number" was 150 sworn officers.


Council Member Jane Lumm, an Independent representing the 2nd Ward, wants to increase police and fire staffing levels.

Ryan J. Stanton |

While it's not feasible to add 32 officers in one year, Lumm said, it is reasonable to target achieving that level over a three- to five-year period.

The administrator's proposed budget adds just one FTE in police, as well as five part-time officers through a new cadet recruit program.

The city continues to apply for federal funds through the COPS Universal Hire grant program, but has not been awarded any money yet.

If awarded, Lumm said, a $1.4 million grant could fund five full-time positions for three years, based on the cost of an entry-level officer being about $90,000 a year.

Lumm's proposal calls for adding 10 more officers (in addition what's already proposed by the administrator) if the COPS grant is awarded, and five if it's not awarded.

In the most optimistic scenario, that would mean an increase of 11 full-time officer positions by July 1, plus the five part-time officers being added through the recruit program.

Lumm said the city could pay the $450,000 cost of adding five officers using up to $567,200 in recurring savings. She's calling on the administrator to make additional cuts to the budgets for mayor and council, public services, human resources and 15th District Court.

Additionally, she wants to reduce the training budget by $20,000 and amend the contract with the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority so more police costs are shifted to the AATA.

Restoring fall leaf pickup

Lumm is proposing the city restore fall leaf pickup and holiday tree pickup, two services that were eliminated in previous rounds of city budget cuts.

She argues leaf pickup is a basic service that should be provided to residents, particularly given that taxpayers pay more than $11 million a year in a solid waste millage.

Holiday tree pickup may not be a core service, Lumm said, but it offers a significant convenience to residents that can be provided for $25,000.

The city's staff indicated the recurring costs to restore both services would be $300,484, or about 2 percent of the city's $14 million annual solid waste expenses.

That breaks down to $275,280 for leaf pickup and $25,204 for tree pickup.

Lumm said those increases can be funded by reductions in other solid waste operating expenses. She proposes leaving it up to the city's administration to decide where to make those cuts, but recommends elimination of the recycling rewards program, among other changes.

The city's staff indicated that restoring leaf pickup would require the purchase of two street sweepers/pushers at a one-time cost of $383,000.

If that expense is necessary, and the city can't use existing equipment or share equipment with another community, Lumm said there are sufficient funds. She points out the solid waste fund had unrestricted net assets of $8.5 million last June, 60 percent of annual expenses.

Downsizing public art

Kunselman wants to reduce the city's public art budget by $307,299. He proposes eliminating about $185,000 in transfers to the art fund from the water, sewer and stormwater budgets, as well as another $122,500 in expected transfers from the street millage.

He believes the capital dollars going to public art should remain in their original funds and should be used for purposes within those original funds.

It's unlikely Kunselman will win support for his proposal. The council has thoroughly debated the issue of public art funding several times now and only Lumm and Briere joined Kunselman in supporting cuts when the issue came before council in December.

Council travel budget

Council Member Sabra Briere, D-1st Ward, is asking her colleagues to consider an amendment to zero out the mayor and council's $6,500 budget for conferences and travel. The council eliminated the item from the budget in 2010 but it was added back.

The end of RecycleBank

Briere is collaborating with Kunselman and Carsten Hohnke, D-5th Ward, on a proposal to discontinue the RecycleBank recycling rewards program, arguing the program hasn't produced the desired outcome of significantly increasing participation in recycling.

Discontinuing the program effective July 1 would result in no change to the solid waste budget for the coming year, according to their proposal.

That solid waste budget includes a $103,500 expense for the RecycleBank contract, but there's going to be a $107,200 one-time cost associated with eliminating the program.

That includes $90,000 in an equipment purchase settlement, and $17,200 for 60 days of contractual notice.

Human services funding

Lumm has drafted an amendment to dip just shy of $50,000 into the general fund reserves to maintain last year's funding level for human services.

The city last year allocated $1.24 million to nonprofit human services agencies through a coordinated funding process.

District Court secretary

Council Member Christopher Taylor, D-3rd Ward, is proposing to restore a 15th District Court secretary position that was slated to be eliminated.

Taylor noted the recommendation corresponded with a judge vacancy that wasn't sure to be filled, but the judge position was filled when Joe Burke was appointed to the bench.

Taylor proposes restoring $76,193 in general fund expenditures for a secretary position to be funded by a reduction in the planned general fund surplus for next year.

That proposal will be competing with Lumm's proposal to reduce the District Court budget by $94,617 to offset some of the costs of hiring new police officers.

Lumm's policy resolutions

Lumm is planning on bringing forward two other resolutions for consideration, including one to restructure the city's retirement plan to a 401K-style plan.

Her proposal calls on the city administrator to develop a recommendation for a defined contribution retirement plan by Dec. 31, with the intent to place all newly hired nonunion employees in the plan by July 1, 2013.

Lumm's other resolution asks the council to adopt a more strategic budget development process, moving away from across-the-board cuts that she says have resulted in a disproportional reduction in public safety staffing over the years. She says a more strategic approach could result in the city budget better reflecting the community's priorities.

She's asking for a budget process committee to develop a new target-setting approach to be presented to council no later than Oct. 1, with the intent that the new process starting later this year will be used in developing the next two-year budget plan.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Tue, May 22, 2012 : 10:51 p.m.

"It's unlikely Kunselman will win support for his proposal. The council has thoroughly debated the issue of public art funding several times now and only Lumm and Briere joined Kunselman in supporting cuts when the issue came before council in December" Then get rid of the other council members who don't support Kunselman's proposal. How ludicrous is using money from the sewer and water funds, and from the street millage for public art? NO MORE MILLAGES! Period. Vote out the clowns on city council.


Tue, May 22, 2012 : 10:47 p.m.

"Kunselman wants to reduce the city's public art budget by $307,299. He proposes eliminating about $185,000 in transfers to the art fund from the water, sewer and stormwater budgets, as well as another $122,500 in expected transfers from the street millage." There is NO reason for funds from water, sewer and stormwater as well as the street millage be used for public art! The street millage?? The roads and streets around A2 are crumbling and potholes are the size of craters in some areas. So this is ok, because some of the street millage goes for public art? This is totally WRONG.

David Frye

Mon, May 21, 2012 : 9:56 p.m.

It's hard to imagine a bigger waste of money and resources than leaf pick-up. Just leave the leaves where they fall, folks! Contrary to what you were taught, they decompose perfectly well all by themselves and turn into instant fertilizer by spring.


Tue, May 22, 2012 : 10:51 p.m.

Public art is a much bigger waste of money when police and fire personnel are being cut.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 7:58 p.m.

I cannot wait to see leaf pick up again, more Police and Firemen. With the amount of taxes we pay to this city it is great to finally see some results. While the solar powered talking traffic lights are nice, its the types of things in this article our Money should have been spent on to begin with. I wonder how much money has been funneled into that underground parking garage. Is that why leaf pickup was suspended to begin with? Finally a good decision, if they approve these changes!

Alan Goldsmith

Mon, May 21, 2012 : 7:30 p.m.

"Council Member Sabra Briere, D-1st Ward, is asking her colleagues to consider an amendment to zero out the mayor and council's $6,500 budget for conferences and travel. The council eliminated the item from the budget in 2010 but it was added back" Wow. Profile in Courage that one.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 6:12 p.m.

Sounds like a good budget to me.

mike gatti

Mon, May 21, 2012 : 5:48 p.m.

Public art is a worthy cause but I as a reader have no idea if A2 spends more, less or equal to similarly situated cities. Leaf pick up would be great. Tree pick up? I guess I'd rather have the money go to pay for some of a police officer or firefighter's salary.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 5:29 p.m.

Considering how much Recycle Bank is costing the city, I say it's a total scam. I signed up a year or two ago and I have 1957 points. And that's with only putting out my bin every other week. The problem is there is nothing of real value to redeem these points for. It's mostly just coupons. In fact the very best value I could find to use these points for were some free subscriptions to magazines that practically give away subscriptions anyway. I guess maybe I could get a free subscription to People magazine so I could recycle them and get more Recycle Bank points...?

Ron Granger

Mon, May 21, 2012 : 3:23 p.m.

Some people like to celebrate by destroying a tree every year. They should not expect the rest of us to subsidize their wasteful behavior. I know it's nice to toss it from your property, and have it magically disappear so you can forget it and the waste it represents. But is that the behavior we want to encourage through subsidies?


Wed, May 23, 2012 : 7:26 a.m.

I think that plastic trees are more wasteful and damaging to our environment than trees specifically grown to be cut and recycled.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 4:47 p.m.

You are aware that there are people who provide for their families by maintaining farms whose sole or primary crop is Christmas trees, right? The average Christmas tree is not culled from a forest.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 2:57 p.m.

Ann Arbor is a city that loves arts. There are many organizations, individuals and businesses that support art through a variety of channels. But these organizations, individuals and businesses can't operate a fire-fighting service or the police. So, the city government, please provide adequate basic service before you support public art.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 2:26 p.m.

Once again, I'm glad I cast my vote for Jane Lumm. The residents of Ann Arbor really need to be aware of what is coming down the pike and let their council member know how they feel. Otherwise, we'll be dealing with same issues over and over.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 4:50 p.m.

I'd like to live in an Ann Arbor in which a Republican can call herself such and get elected based on the merits of her ideas and not be voted down SOLELY because of her party affiliation. Thirty years ago those with a (D) next to their name used to complain of the same thing. Now that they have control, they've forgotten about it.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 2:22 p.m.

While some of the amendments may not pass, hopefully voters will take note of who voted to pass the amendments and more important, who voted NOT to pass the amendments. During the election later this year, voters will hopefully voice their concern for the ongoing issues resulting from a council out of touch with the community.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 2:05 p.m.

Breaking News: Some common sense invades Ann Arbor City Council!!! It must be an election year. Let's hope that these common sense proposals have some legs and get passed.


Tue, May 22, 2012 : 10:53 p.m.

The use of street and water and sewer funds for public art will pass again. This is not a budget that should pass.

Ryan J. Stanton

Mon, May 21, 2012 : 2 p.m.

A bit of background on state fire protection grants:

J. Zarman

Mon, May 21, 2012 : 1:48 p.m.

It is time to end the RecycleBank nonsense. Kudos to council members Kunselman, Briere and Hohnke for moving to end this fiasco. My experience with RecycleBank was miserable. The website that claimed "It's so easy" was one of the mostly unwieldy registrations ever. Updating my information proved to be a hopeless and impossible process. Phone calls to RecycleBank support? Over 12 times the system was down or unavailable. The several times I got through, never a human, and the automated "help" never got close to the information I sought. End result? I continued thoroughly putting recyclables out for collection, week after week. I got zero rewards even though I had given much time & effort to check out RecycleBank and sign up. Not even the promised free pass to Recycle Ann Arbor's Drop-Off center ever arrived. Meanwhile, the City of Ann Arbor sent me eight mailings, reminding me of my RecycleBank member number, urging me to get rewards, etc. Eight mailings, at what cost to me and other city taxpayers?!? A total and irresponsible waste of scarce city funds.....


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 5:17 p.m.

Having read about Cleveland using the same system as a stick rather than a carrot caused me not to sign up in the first place. I could easily see that city's use of the technology to track and fine people for NOT recycling coming here.

Tony Livingston

Mon, May 21, 2012 : 1:47 p.m.

Restructuring the retirement plans at city hall needs to be a very top priority. It should have been addressed years ago. The massive early retirements plus benefits that we are paying for is bankrupting the city. I hope Ms. Lumm is sincere and that she is able to see that some real changes are made.

Albert Howard

Mon, May 21, 2012 : 1:30 p.m.

Amen. Back to the basics.


Tue, May 22, 2012 : 10:54 p.m.

Using water and street money for public art is not back to basics.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 1:27 p.m.

As long as single stream recycling remains, I could care less about Recyclebank. I'm also glad to see the police and fire departments are being restaffed, even if not to previous levels. It's a start.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 1:25 p.m.

Increases in fire and police personnel and fall leaf collection are far more important than public art or a useless recycle bank.

Elijah Shalis

Mon, May 21, 2012 : 3:07 p.m.

We don't need this many police and fire fighters. Do you want to live in a police state?


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 1:16 p.m.

The Recycle Bank has certain earmarks I associate with scams. I recently received notice my 75 recycle points are expiring, since I never used them. These are the same 75 points I received for signing up in the first place. In other words, more than a year's worth of recycled trash as generated absolutely zero additional points. What's that all about, and why should we pay $60,000 additional to get rid of something that never paid out dollar one in the first place?


Tue, May 22, 2012 : 5 p.m.

My husband does the recycle bank points and we have gotten a few Lowe's gift cards for $10 each time. Not bad for just recycling things. I told him this morning it might be going away and he was sad but not surprised.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 1:10 p.m.

Way to go Council Person Lumm! Finally, we have someone who knows what they are doing in the city council.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 1:09 p.m.

Lumm for Mayor!

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Mon, May 21, 2012 : 12:59 p.m.

@EyeHeartA2: on the Christmas tree drop off site, you obviously didn't go there the day I did late in January when it was a giant mud pit! Besides getting my wife's GMC Tahoe with 4 wheel drive stuck (I finally did get out without a tow), I ruined my favorite pair of casual shoes... How could anyone without 4-wheel drive have gone in there and not come out having to be assisted with a tow truck? The whole idea is a waste of taxpayer resources and just shifts costs onto tax payers for a service done more economically by the city.

Ron Granger

Mon, May 21, 2012 : 3:28 p.m.

Your SUV was stuck in the mud and your shoes were ruined as you cast aside your now dead tree. Oh the humanity! Disposal of dead Christmas trees in Ann Arbor is almost like living in the third world. Won't someone think of the stuck SUVs and the ruined shoes. I weeped for my muddy SUV, until I saw a man who had no SUV. Government - please save us from this misery!


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 12:54 p.m.

These are just proposals, heaven forbid that the leftists will succumb to such fiscally sensible solution to a committee that is bent on entitlements and wasteful spending.

Ron Granger

Mon, May 21, 2012 : 12:50 p.m.

If this city wants to combat crime, they need more cops on bikes and not in cars. Bike patrols get them out in the community, where they can interact with the people. It gets them away from speed traps and speeding around, and sitting in their patrol cars with the engine running and the a/c cranked. And bikes are much less expensive than patrol cars. On foot or bike, you are far more aware of your surroundings, and you approach much more quietly.

Bertha Venation

Mon, May 21, 2012 : 7:23 p.m.

Maybe the cops on bikes will follow the traffic laws.... Nah.... what was I thinking? :)

Ron Granger

Mon, May 21, 2012 : 12:47 p.m.

"The public art needs to go as well until all other city needs are met." All other city needs will NEVER be met. With that thinking, we could never have any nice things. Like parks.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 7:22 p.m.

We were at least allowed to vote on the parks. The 1% for art program appears to be beyond the control of voters and in a down economy with services cut and cut and cut, it makes sense to at least temporarily reduce or suspend it. Art can't put out a fire.

Elijah Shalis

Mon, May 21, 2012 : 12:37 p.m.

Ann Arbor already has too many police officers and the speed limits are too low. I also noticed since moving back here at if a light turns green the next light will almost always turn red by the time I get to it. Also many major roads are now 2 lane roads with a turn lane! What have these people done to my city!


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 8:24 p.m.

What are you basing too many cops on?

Elijah Shalis

Mon, May 21, 2012 : 12:56 p.m.

Uh no Ron and ur comment calls into question the veracity of all ur other comments.

Ron Granger

Mon, May 21, 2012 : 12:46 p.m.

It sounds like you're in a big hurry. If you want to drive fast, take the highway. Speed limits in and around Ann Arbor are significantly higher than they were 20 years ago.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 12:30 p.m.

Oh, the leaf collection? That needs to come back. What were they thinking? (or not)


Wed, May 23, 2012 : 7:17 a.m.

And then the wet leaves freeze into large leaf ice rinks...."Wheeee!" (That's what I hear from my kids in the back seat.)


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 2:06 p.m.

My favorite part about the leaf collection is when the wet leaves clog up the storm drains, and then drivers get to skid around on standing water and wet leaves. Great system. Really makes driving in Ann Arbor a lot more interesting. I am so pumped for that again -


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 1:22 p.m.

For all the years I've lived hear and witnessed many leaf pickups, I've never see a snow plow used in this service. Converted front end loaders yes and large dump trucks, snow plows no.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 12:37 p.m.

considering the fact that they used snow plows to do it the last time, i'm sure they just didn't understand how the process worked.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 12:29 p.m.

Jane is great. A breath of sanity on the council. That said - I think I disagree with her on the Christmas tree thing. I used it, I liked it, I was cheesed off when it went away ---but really, it wasn't that big a dea to cut off a few branches and throw them in the compost bin. In fact, I think it might have been easier, since I just cut all the branches off in the living room. I don't want to go nuts restaffing the cops. I still see too many enforcing the revenue zones with illegal speed limits. Not as many as there used to be, so I count that as a good thing. That's my measure of overstaffing. Now if those cops were for downtown patrols or in areas we need them, OK, but if they are just going to "collect and serve" again, no thanks. If 6 extra fire fighters will get people to just shut up about it, then it is worth it for that alone. I can't imagine 6 makes much of a difference one way or the other.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Mon, May 21, 2012 : 12:21 p.m.

Let's hope some of the proposed amendments pass!


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 12:17 p.m.

Thank you, Jane Lumm. This is why we voted for you.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 12:16 p.m.

It appears this group of city council members (at least some of them) has finally developed a common-sense approach to solving these important problems .


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 11:50 a.m.

The revisal of the "1% heist for art" program will probaby have to wait until after the election when we will hopefully have some more sane people on council.


Tue, May 22, 2012 : 10:58 p.m.

Michael, public art in A2 are still being supported by the ruling party, and not the majority of residents who would much rather see the street millage money used for the streets!!! Fill the potholes and stop buying frivolous so-called "art" to hang in the lobby of some city building.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 7:19 p.m.

@Michael - Of course most folks love art, but when we are losing basic community safety services (Fire, Police) as well as many other services, the "public art" community would do itself a great service by recognizing that times are tough and art won't put out a fire. I would think their smartest move would be voluntarily call by the art community for a temporary moratorium (or at least, reduction) to the 1% for arts program until some reasonable metric is reached (unemployment falls below 5%, safety services hits a certain threshold, etc). It'll demonstrate an understanding that will likely get them a fair bit of sympathy when the economy is doing better and we can afford this. With things tough, with the 1% for art program sitting on a bunch of unspent cash (that they can't even find good use for now) and people and services hurting, a stridently "Never cut art" view looks tone deaf and selfish.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 12:33 p.m.

Yes, nothing says more about the "human condition" than the LED-adorned rusty metalwork sitting outside City Hall and the Lite-Brite on steroids that they plan to hang in the lobby there. And you're right about it being supported by the "ruling party", which with any luck will see its end in November.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 12:10 p.m.

Art is civilization. At the center of every movement, every enlightenment, is art. It points to new directions in science, philosophy, engineering, etc. Historically, the arts have always been supported by the church, government, or ruling parties. It is about uncovering new potential, revealing the human condition, and fostering creativity, which to me, has far more return for my dollar than picking up somebody's dead tree every December. Peoples limited insight, selfishness, and outright ignorance towards the arts only highlights the bankrupt trajectory of contemporary culture.

Linda Peck

Mon, May 21, 2012 : 11:41 a.m.

I too am hopeful that the basic services will be shored up and the fluff will go. Nix to the travel budge, nix to the stealing of money for art, increase the much needed fire and police staffing, nix new hire pensions. Government should not be about fluff, not now and not ever.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 11:40 a.m.

OK for once i an happy we have some people that can think of people.leaf and art really are the right way to go. art has always been my pet peeve. who needs art when we need so much. people go to the store and would like to get $150 for food. they only have $100 so they buy $100 worth. leaf pu is a great come back. so much easier on the older people. lets hope they do it right this time. over time for fire and police is because we need more of them. good luck


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 11:33 a.m.

The taxpayers of the city (not the hanger's on ) can only hope some sense comes to the budget , but don't hold your breath, the machine and its sacred cows will grind on no matter's an election year and there will be lots of smoke and mirrors just like washington to lull the sheeple into believing they actually count....


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 11:25 a.m.

Finally a modicum of sense here - Although I do hope the public art funds do get eliminated - let that be funded by donations, volunteers, patrons of the arts, and all the other 'normal' methods that art gets funded. Funding it thru taxpayers dollars that go for city services ( that art cut because of 'shortfalls'), without the taxpayers being in on the decisions made, is arrogant and absurd. Tip my hat to the 3 rogue members that realize that the city's basic needs are the first priority. Now, time to wait (and hold my breath & vote) to see if they're true to their words.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 1:18 p.m.

Only in A2 would someone claim that this plan makes sense. The council sees an extra dollar in their pocket and they rush to spend it - along with a few extra dollars from grants. Nonsense! Stop spending money. Period.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 10:42 a.m.

It is good to see a possible increase in both the fire and police department -- this is extremely important and needed very much. DDA can be closed down and all the funds can go to the city -- I just don't understand how it is that they can not pay their "due" to the city and get away with it. The public art needs to go as well until all other city needs are met. Art is totally marvelous but if the funds are not readily available, it does need to be put on the back burner. Travel funds is another area that should be cut until a brighter future allows for those expenditures. A retirement plan definitely needs to be looked at -- and I am not in favor of any individual who can work for 5 years, retire and get a hefty pension and full health benefits -- believe that is what the last city administrator received -- something just is not right with that.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 1:17 p.m.

Your last paragraph is filled with misinformation and you lack an understanding of what the DDA is and how it operates. Too bad. As well, some the travel funds are for continuing training for workers like Fire and Police. Minimal costs at best and good value for the dollar.